Bread – Many

May 4, 2015


Readings for Monday, May 4, 2015, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: **; Col. 3:18-4:18; Luke 7:36-50; Psalms 56, 57, 58, 64, 65

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When I prepare this Bread, I first edit the top line, putting in the verses for the day from the Book of Common Prayer. Sometimes while I do this, I get an image. Today, I have to admit, it was a negative image. When I was writing down the list of Psalms to read for today, my thought was – “This is a lot, this is too many.”

Too many for what? Too many to read because I am busy? Too many to list because I am running out of room? Too many to think about because I can have only one thought at a time? How ridiculous! And yet that is what I thought, “Why so many…”

To tell you the truth, isn’t this one of the questions we ask ourselves every day? Why so many problems? Why so many burdens? Why so many telephone calls? Why so many angry people? Why so many bills? Why so many things? Why so many “To Do’s”? Why so many …?

Do we ever ask the question, “Why so many blessings?”

In today’s reading from Luke, we witness the woman with the alabaster flask of nard, who pours it out on and over Jesus’ feet. The Pharisee host asks Jesus why He was permitting a sinner to do this for Him. Jesus asks the Pharisee a question regarding who would love Jesus more, the person who was forgiven few debts or the person who was forgiven many debts. After the Pharisee responded that it would be the person who was forgiven many debts and Jesus points out all of the ways that the sinful woman had expressed love for Him, He said to the Pharisee “Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven….” Luke 7:47

How many sins do you have? How many of those sins have been forgiven by Jesus’ finished work on the cross? How many sins remain unforgiven? Hopefully, you answered “Many,” “All,” and “None.”

There are two lenses through which Christians can look at the world. One lens emphasizes the many forgiven sins and the many blessings we receive now and in eternity. The other lens emphasizes the many burdens, sorrows, and injuries which we suffer from every day.

Our job as Christians is to proclaim the gospel, to reap the harvest which God has planted. What lens of many would be most effective at doing this? The lens of many blessings or the lens of many curses?

What lens of many do we see the world through? Are five Psalms really too many given the many blessings poured out upon us daily?

I fell into our natural trap of saying, “Yes, five Psalms are too many.” But God rescued me from that trap by bringing to my mind how many sins I committed this morning which have already been forgiven.

And I realized that my many whinings should be turned into many thanksgivings. And my heart of selfishness turned into a heart of gratitude. And so a day begun with many aggravations turned into a day going forward with many hopes, all because God has done for me what I could not do for myself. Now, all I have to do is to offer many prayers at many moments during the many minutes of today.

From our reading in Colossians – “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving … Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer each person.” Col. 4:5-6

God, help us to set aside our many hurts so that we can realize Your many blessings and graciously speak to many people about You. Amen.

__________

© 2015 GBF

**The Book of Common Prayer lesson omitted today is from the book of Wisdom, which is from a group of writings which some churches do not consider valid at all and others consider useful for teaching but not for doctrine. Because these books are disputed by many in the church, I choose not to include them in Bread.

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